ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 29: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets throws a pass before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York.
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Sam Darnold‘s future with the New York Jets was the subject of discussion on ESPN’s Wednesday edition of NFL Live.

ESPN analysts on NFL Live came to a consensus during their Wednesday broadcast: Sam Darnold has the talent to succeed in the NFL, but it may not come with the New York Jets.

Darnold’s future was a hot topic in a video shared by trailblazing Jets scout Connie Carberg. The panel, hosted by Laura Rutledge, consisted of Dan Orlovsky, Dianna Russini, and Marcus Spears, all of whom were unwilling to close the door on his NFL potential.

Orlovsky, himself a former NFL starter in Detroit and Indianapolis, noted that Darnold’s supposedly alarming number of interceptions (39 in 38 games) shouldn’t be a concern, noting several other elite quarterbacks, including Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees, had their struggles with interceptions at the onset of their NFL careers.

Of note, Orlovsky also referenced Ryan Tannehill, who has flourished in Tennessee since his liberation from Adam Gase’s systems in Miami. Darnold struggled in Gase’s two years at the New York helm, which culminated in a 2-14 record last season.


“Stop telling me about the interceptions,” Orlovsky said. “Surround him with the proper support, he’ll still play.” Spears, a former NFL defender, concurred, saying that “(Darnold) needs to be given a good chance in a really good situation to see what kind of player he can be.”

Darnold’s New York tenure as a whole has been defined by misfires on offensive weaponry (Le’Veon Bell, Jermaine Kearse) and a general sense of chaotic turnover. By year three of Darnold’s reign, only one of his receivers, tight end Chris Herndon, remained on the roster from his rookie campaign.

Russini, who lives in the metropolitan area, noted that many Jets fans are ready to move on from Darnold, but the coaches, general managers, and owners she has talked to paint a different picture on the USC alum’s future prospects.

“When you talk to the football experts … they all think Sam Darnold can play,” she said. “So until I think people start giving up on him, those that know what they’re doing, Sam Darnold has so much potential to be successful. It’s just whether or not it’s going to be in New York.”

Rutledge concluded the conversation on a sobering New York note: over the past 15 NFL Drafts, the Jets had drafted 10 quarterbacks, the most in the NFL. In that span, half of them (Darnold, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg, and Kellen Clemens) were taken in the first two rounds.

Darnold, 23, has amassed a 13-25 record as the Jets’ starter over the past three seasons, throwing 45 touchdowns and 38 interceptions. With the Jets choosing second in the upcoming NFL Draft in Cleveland, many expect them to use that choice on one of the prime throwers offered, including Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, or Justin Fields.

The Jets have also been mentioned in the saga of disgruntled elite veteran quarterbacks in the NFL, including those of Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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